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Morgan State to create blockchain program with Silicon Valley fintech firm

(Maximilian Franz/The Daily Record)

(Maximilian Franz/The Daily Record)

Morgan State University will create a blockchain program as part of a partnership with Silicon Valley fintech firm Ripple, the university announced Thursday.

A five-year academic partnership with Ripple will allow Morgan to create the Center for the Study of Blockchain and Fintech Innovation at its Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management. The university did not disclose the amount of funding it would receive.

“We are absolutely thrilled to announce the UBRI partnership with Ripple, as it further strengthens Morgan’s commitment to advancing the next generation of engineers, entrepreneurs and tech professionals,” David Wilson, the university’s president, said in a statement. “We are a modern research institution vested in innovation and critical study, and this caliber of transformative higher education is a testament to the progress of our mission. We are very proud that Morgan is among a select number of UBRI partners and the only such partner in our region.”

Ripple is a fintech firm that allows users to send money globally using blockchain technology.

Morgan’s partnership with Ripple comes through University Blockchain Research Initiative, a program that allows Ripple to partner with universities to support academic research, development and innovation in blockchain, cryptocurrency and digital payments.

Ripple provides these universities financial and technical resources. It also collaborates with faculty and students on research and technical projects.

“Blockchain has the potential to be a disruptor in many businesses and industries, and universities must be flexible to adapt to the changing environment. Based on this premise, we plan to expand our campus-wide engagement in research and curriculum development in blockchain, cryptoeconomics, and FinTech innovation,” Ali Emdad, associate dean and professor of Information Science for the Graves School, said in a statement. “The Center for the Study of Blockchain plays an important role in providing opportunities to the faculty and students at Morgan and at other HBCUs to push the boundaries in this exciting new space.”

The initiative was launched in 2018 and supports 29 universities. Eleven universities were added Thursday.

Other universities announced today as part of the UBRI include: Carnegie Mellon University, Cornell University, Duke University, Georgetown University, University of Kansas, University of Michigan, National University of Singapore, Northeastern University, University of Sao Paulo, and Institute for Fintech Research at Tsinghua University.

“In less than a year, our initial UBRI partners hit the ground running with the launch of new research projects, events, course offerings and more,” Eric van Miltenburg, senior vice president of Global Operations at Ripple, said in a statement. “Expanding the ecosystem to a more global, diversified network of UBRI partners, including such esteemed and historic universities as Morgan, will only continue to enrich these projects.”

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